MARCH 22, 2019
Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of President Trump’s lead attorneys dealing with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe, said Friday that, like many Americans, he’s in a holding pattern, with no inside information about when Mueller will issue his report to the Justice Department.
“It’s like waiting for a baby,” Giuliani said in a phone interview as he tracked news coverage from his hotel in Washington. “Or, maybe, it’s more like waiting for a jury. You make your case, then you have to wait days for that verdict.”
Giuliani added, “If the report is good” — and finds no wrongdoing by the president — “I’ll give out cigars.”
Giuliani said he and Trump spoke Friday morning, before the president headed out for a weekend at his Mar-a-Lago Club, to discuss their strategy about how to deal with the special counsel’s findings.
“It was nothing new,” Giuliani said, briefly describing the conversation. “He has become sort of tired of it, and his view is that it’s going to happen one day, and we’ll be ready.”
As he departed the White House for Florida on Friday, Trump told reporters, “I have no idea about the Mueller report.”
“Well, we’re going to see what happens,” he said. “It’s going to be very interesting, but we’ll see what happens. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. Everybody knows it. It’s all a big hoax. I call it the witch hunt.”
Mueller, who has kept his investigation very closely held, has not said when he will file his confidential report on the findings of a nearly two-year inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
But there have been several public signs that the probe is winding down — and heightened speculation that Mueller could transmit his final report to Attorney General William P. Barr any day.
Members of Mueller’s team have been leaving for other posts in recent weeks. And no one has been charged by the special counsel since longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone was indicted in January for allegedly lying to Congress.
At the Justice Department and special counsel’s office, camera crews and satellite trucks now arrive early each morning — hoping to spot a glimpse of Mueller, Barr or any clue about what the two men might be up to. The Justice Department press room is packed to the gills with journalists afraid to leave the building even for lunch, lest they might miss some hint of the report’s transmission. On Friday, they had pizza delivered.
Barr was scheduled to tour a Drug Enforcement Administration facility on Friday morning and was spotted later in the day in the cafeteria.
Giuliani insisted that he has received no messages or even private signals that Mueller’s work is done — “Zero,” he said.
“We just don’t know, and they haven’t told us anything,” he said.
Giuliani said he and other Trump lawyers began to assume weeks ago that Mueller could be nearing the end because Mueller’s lawyers stopped engaging them further about the president’s written answers to a list of questions from the special counsel.
“The last exchange was pretty mild, and that’s after having heated debates a long time ago,” he said. “Frankly, we thought it could be done four or five weeks ago. I’m not sure about the reason for the delay.”
In preparation for Mueller’s report, Giuliani said Trump’s legal team wrote a “counter report,” with various sections designed to challenge possible assertions by Mueller.
“I’m not sure we’ll have to use it,” Giuliani said. “We don’t know how detailed their report will be.”
Giuliani continued, “If they report with facts, we’ll say something right away and write something over the weekend. If there are no facts, I’m not sure we’ll put out a report. If it’s a statement from Barr saying he simply received it, I don’t think we’ll say anything.”
If Mueller gives his report to Barr on Friday, Giuliani said he plans to stay in Washington to do some Sunday television interviews, rather than travel to see Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Lawmakers, meanwhile, have been taking steps to urge the Justice Department to make Mueller’s findings public, although it is unclear whether and to what extent that will happen. The House last week voted overwhelmingly to urge the Justice Department to publicly release Mueller’s entire report, with 420 Democrats and Republicans supporting the measure and not a single person voting no.
The special-counsel regulations do not require Barr to release Mueller’s report, and in most circumstances, the Justice Department does not make public information about those it investigates and does not charge. But the political pressure on the attorney general is expected to be enormous, and legal analysts say the Justice Department might be hard-pressed to resist lawmakers’ demands for transparency.
Barr has vowed to be as open as possible while also noting that department policies generally do not support his telling all.
On Wednesday, Trump said he does not mind if Mueller’s report is made public.
“I don’t mind,” the president told reporters outside the White House before departing for a trip to Lima, Ohio. “I mean, frankly, I told the House, ‘If you want, let them see it.’ ”